Going into the final season of Game of Thrones, we know the HBO series is going to end things differently than George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice books, if only because they’ve changed a lot already over the last two seasons. Plus, Martin hasn’t finishing writing The Winds of Winter yet, which is only slated to be the second-to-last book in the series. But still, Martin had rough plans for how the book series would end, which he shared with Game of Thrones creators Benioff and Weiss, and their ending will come out before his does. Martin told EW he has “mixed feelings about that,” saying, “Obviously, I wished I finished these books sooner so the show hadn’t gotten ahead of me. I never anticipated that.”
But in something of a concession to Martin and the book readers, Benioff and Weiss also told EW that they’re not planning to reveal how exactly their version of events differ from the plans Martin had for his books. “Now that the show is ahead of the books, it seems the show could ruin the books for people,” Benioff said. “So one thing we’ve talked to George about is that we’re not going to tell people what the differences are, so when those books come out people can experience them fresh.” That might seem like a minor quibble, but there are important developments on the show that we know came straight from Martin (Hodor’s backstory, for instance), which means that, in the future, there’ll be plenty of twists that could be either his ideas or Benioff and Weiss originals. Or maybe Martin will change his plans after seeing what happens on the show — he told EW that he hasn’t read the scripts yet — and resurrect someone who died on the TV series in the books and make them important just for the heck of it.